Africa Madagascar Peace Corps The Nomadic Life

Living With a Malagasy Family




“Why were your host brothers playing with a plate?” Another trainee asked me.

“Because it was a steering wheel, duh,” I said.

After a full day of intensive Malagasy immersion, I always feel relieved to understand something as universally obvious as a kid pretending to drive a car. So much about our homestays make us feel like toddlers relearning how to take care of ourselves, but when I see my host brothers spinning a round, straw place mat in front of them and making wrrr-ing noises, I get it. Language barriers gone, I fake shift into second gear and smile as if to say “wanna race?”

By Jessie Beck

SEO and content strategist with a passion for travel, bikes, and food.

2 replies on “Living With a Malagasy Family”


I am just interested in the homestay that you were involved in Madagascar.
I myself love to be able to participate in cultural homestays.

If you have any tips or recommendations about homestays or travel in Madagascar, I would really appreciate it.




I was involved in a homestay here in Madagascar as a required part of my Peace Corps training. I had no part in organizing the homestay and unfortunately don’t have much info on how to find one yourself. Most bigger cities have Malagasy language courses that might be able to set you up with something, and in general if you speak a few words of Gasy, like hello, how are you, goodbye, people instantly become more interested in you and willing to talk/invite you in for lunch. That’s probably my only tip: learning a few words will take you far!



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